Gym operations came to a screeching halt for local gyms in the middle of March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Monday, May 18, was like a grand reopening for most gyms, as they were allowed to open with 25 percent capacity.
Anytime Fitness Manager Alysia Fikes said it was overwhelming and emotional with operations closing so suddenly.
“It was so sudden, and at the time, it felt like we were stepping into the unknown,” Fikes said.
According to the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas, effective May 18, gyms and exercise facilities and classes may operate up to 25% of the total listed occupancy of the gym or exercise facility. Locker rooms and shower facilities must remain closed, but restrooms may be open. Employees and contractors of the gym or exercise facility do not count toward the 25% occupancy limitation. Any components of the establishments or facilities that have interactive functions or exhibits, including child play areas, interactive games, and video arcades, must remain closed.
While the governor’s orders are pretty straight forward, the adjustments Fikes had to make at the gym were rather drastic.
“It’s quite a process to reopen. We had to make sure our security system was up and running, so members are able to get inside the gym. We had our fitness equipment company come out to make sure all equipment is up to date and working properly. Staff also did a deep clean prior to opening,” Fikes explained.
Fikes said the Anytime Fitness corporate office has been proactive in keeping all locations up to date by sending checklists on what needed to be taken care of.
Signage has been posted all over the gym to remind gym members of social distancing, that hand sanitizer is available, and also extra disinfecting wipes are on hand in case of a shortage since members are required to wipe down equipment before and after use.
Due to the extent to which gyms are required to disinfect, Fikes said she had to close some of the cardio equipment to better regulate the cleaning and disinfecting supplies.
Fikes explained that she does not think it will be difficult to enforce the protocols they are to abide by.
“Most people are used to social distancing themselves at this time and taking precautions,” Fikes said.
Fikes said she is most excited about seeing her gym members and witnessing the gym come back to life.
“It’s been weird to be here with no lights on, no music, and empty,” she said.
Anytime Fitness continues to operate as a 24-hour gym, but each member is required to reserve a time slot from the gym’s website to be able to access the gym at that specific time. This is to help keep the gym at a 25 percent maximum capacity.
All the local gyms, which include the YMCA, Midcoast Strength, and Topwater Sweat all opened their doors Monday.